This morning as I donned my t-shirt, leggings, and walking shoes, I walked out the door to find it chilly enough to return inside for a sweatshirt to complete my walking wardrobe. The sun shone brightly, but heat had not yet descended upon the day. The breeze was chilly, and the air still crisp as leaves and dropped acorns crunched under the weight of my feet.
All signs pointed to a change of seasons, and the promise of autumn in Texas; a welcome change to the blistering summer heat. It happened seemingly overnight, and yet in reality, it’s been slowly coming for weeks. The days have been shorter and the nights have been cooler, and the air conditioning has been less needed. Yet if I didn’t intentionally give credence to these subtle changes, the seasonal change would have taken me by surprise.
The summer had been blisteringly hot, warming the swimming pools and lakes to an uninviting condition. It was not uncommon to hear the sentiment, “I can’t wait for fall or winter to get here.” And it did, without any effort on our part, but rather by an act of our Creator.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
The year itself had been long, filled with trials and times that left us wandering in the valley. Each trial felt like an ocean surge crashing us against the rocks, beaten and bruised, wondering where it had come from, and how we didn’t see it coming.
A 12-week bout of pneumonia/bronchitis/flu took over six months to fully regain my lung capacity. The death of a friend/mentor/prayer warrior on the first day of our summer vacation ushered in a reminder of the fragility of life, and the uncertainty of the number of our days. A diagnosis of cancer for my husband the same day that my book “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” released took the wind out of our sails, and took our breath away as we began the treatment process with strong hopes for remission. Multiple staff who were more like family than employees, reluctantly turned in their resignation as they prepared for out of state moves, leaving us in a state of flux and turmoil, knowing that training would be long and the office less than stable once suitable candidates were found.
When trials hit, and crisis looms, it can feel much like a natural disaster that hits without warning then leaves debris scattered in its path. After a disaster strikes, the news focuses on the disaster and that’s all you hear about for days or weeks.
The same thing happens in our hearts after a crisis hits. Our focus and attention is diverted to the crashing waves that threaten to pull us under thought after thought after thought. All we want is to escape the effects unscathed, and for some state of normalcy to return. We do our best to pick up the pieces of our broken life and wrap our arms around them in a meager attempt to hold them together. Until one day. One day when we wake up and realize that the season is changing and the apex of the crisis has passed, and there we sit in a new normal, having survived even if a bit battered and bruised.
It is God our Creator who causes the seasons to change, and God who deserves our praise. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and the one who will cause all things to work together for our good and for His glory.
In the storm, Peter put his faith in action (Matthew 14) and got out of the boat to walk toward Jesus…the only one who could save him in the storm. As long as he kept his eyes on the Savior, he would be kept afloat. But as soon as he focused on his circumstances, the storm around him threatened to pull him under. Just as Peter cried out, “Lord save me…” so too, are we encouraged to cry out to Him in our need and we will find Him reaching out his hand to steady us.
I don’t know what season you are in right now, but we all have a choice to make. Where will you put your focus—on the storm or the One who can still every storm we face?
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.